Karabakh Peace ‘Still Long Way Off’

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian has again sought to cool talk of an impending resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, saying that Armenia and Azerbaijan have made only “limited progress” in their peace talks held in recent months.

In an interview with the New York-based newspaper “The Armenian Reporter” circulated by his office on Friday, Sarkisian said he and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev will not sign any agreements at their anticipated meeting in Moldova next week.

International mediators have expressed hope that the meeting will pave the way for the acceptance by both sides of their basic principles of the conflict’s resolution that were formally put forward in Madrid in November 2007.

“Given the limited progress that we have in agreeing on the Madrid principles, we are quite far from signing a document at this point,” said Sarkisian. “It requires a lengthy negotiating work and, of course, political will from the two sides.”

The remarks came as the U.S., Russian and French mediators co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group held talks with Nagorno-Karabakh’s leaders in Stepanakert on the second leg of their ongoing tour of the conflict zone. The main purpose of the trip is to prepare for the next Aliyev-Sarkisian meeting.

Yuri Merzlyakov, the group’s Russian co-chair, told journalists in Stepanakert that the key points of the mediators’ peace plan have already been “clarified and agreed upon.” He refused to elaborate.


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